Slow Ride…take it easy…ah yes. Foghat. Dazed and Confused is Richard Linklater’s love letter to teenage nostalgia. And it shows up on DVD in a “flashback edition”. The film is also a love letter to the 70’s and contains a bitchin’ soundtrack. In the same vein, Dazed is like Fast Times and Ridgemont High, American Graffiti, and Almost Famous. Linklater’s approach is different. Like his previous film Slacker, Linklater is interested in the composite effect. There’s no ON… character to follow (maybe Mitch). It’s a collective work where the pieces add up to a whole. And it’s a wonderful whole.
The structure of the film is loose, and we follow the events of one day and night “in the life” of various characters. The end of school party climaxes the film. Some soon to be movie stars pop up too. Ben Affleck plays the paddle wielding baddie O’Bannion, Matthew McConaughey plays Wooderson (with his famous speech about high school girls), and Parker Posey shows her genuine talents as the “air raid” obsessed Darla Marks. But the other actors in film are just as authentic in their roles. Not a false note is heard throughout the movie.
Dazed and Confused is a film where “nothing” happens, but everything happens. It’s very funny, of course, and that’s probably the main reason why its cult following has endured. But I think there’s another reason: the film is a sweet, sad lament. I guess the “message” of the movie is to have fun in these years because it ain’t gonna be like this forever. Being 33 now, I can attest to this idea. As Wooderson says, “Just Keep Livin’”.
The movie seemed a bit quiet for my tastes in Dolby Digital 5.1. But then I put it on DTS and man…the music really kicked in. The songs sounded great! And dialogue wasn’t compromised at all. Kick it into DTS if you get a chance. You can really feel the difference in the room.
The anamorphic 1:85:1 widescreen presentation seems apt for Linklater’s broad canvas. The film is advertised as newly re-mastered. The transfer does appear really clean. There is some speckling at the beginning, but that disappears. Colors are vivid and natural. Blacks are solid as a rock. An appropriate visual look for this “slice of life” film.
A little disappointing. No documentaries, no commentaries, no interviews. I’m thinking this “flashback” edition is just a teaser for a larger edition.
But we do have 9 deleted scenes, some funnier than others, all of which have not been remastered.
We have an amusing “blunt facts” mock-umentary. You know…a parody of those instructional videos you see in school. The dangers of smoking pot.
Lastly, we have some real “public service announcements” from the 70’s. The crying Indian/pollution advertisement is a classic.
Like I said, a disappointment. But I’m thinking there is another special edition in the works.
There’s hope that Dazed and Confused can get the Criterion treatment like Slacker. Then we can get the documentaries and commentaries that we all love. But is the movie itself “ground-breaking”? Not really. But it’s the kind of movie that sneaks up on you. Days later you’ll still be thinking about it. This “flashback edition” is a little disappointing in the extras department. The sound and video are very strong. But this movie deserves to be in your collection.
Special Features List
- Deleted scenes
- 1976 flashbacks
- Mock institutional filmstrip on the dangers of partying
- Deleted scenes